Do Personal Budgets Increase the Risk of Abuse?

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With the continued implementation of the personalisation policy, Personal Budgets (PBs) have moved to the mainstream in adult social care in England. The relationship between the policy goals of personalisation and safeguarding is contentious. Some have argued that PBs have the potential to empower recipients, while others believe PBs, especially Direct Payments, might increase the risk of abuse.

This paper provides empirical evidence about levels of uptake of PBs and safeguarding referrals in England based on in-depth analysis of national data at aggregate, local council level in England, covering 152 Councils. This is complemented by analysis of 2,209 individual referral records obtained from three purposively selected study sites. The aim is to explore whether available data could provide evidence of association between the uptake of PBs and safeguarding referrals. Analysis of the national dataset found no significant relationships between PB uptake and the level and type of alleged abuse. However, analysis of individual-level referral data, from the three selected sites did find some significant associations particularly with financial abuse; and found the main perpetrators of the alleged abuse to be home-care employees. The findings are discussed within the context of current policy and practice.

Ismail, M., Hussein, S., Stevens, M. Woolham, J, Manthorpe, J., Baxter, K., Samsi, K. and Aspinal, F.  (2017) Do personal budgets increase the risk of abuse? Evidence from English national data. Journal of Social Policy. 46, 2, 291–311.

Image credit: Arie Wubben, unsplash.com

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Professor of Health and Social Care Policy, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK

Professor Shereen Hussein is a Professor of Health and Social Care Policy at the Department of Health Services Research and Policy (HSRP) at the LSHTM. She is a Co-Director of the PRUComm policy research unit. She is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Kent and King’s College London in the UK and the University of Southern Queensland in Australia.

Shereen is a demographer with expertise in labour-migration, sociology and economics. Her primary research revolves around ageing, family dynamics, migration and long-term care. Shereen has previously worked with the United Nations, the Population Council, the World Bank, and the League of Arab States. Her current research focuses on ageing demographics, long term care demand and migration within the UK and Europe and the implications on policy and practice.

Shereen has conducted extensive research on population ageing and impact on long term care and health policy and practices in the UK, internationally and in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She has contributed to recent United Nations’ policy response to ageing in the region through collaboration with UN-ESCWA and directly providing expert consultations to several countries in the region including Turkey, Oman and Egypt. Shereen leads many large research projects on ageing and long-term care in the UK and contributes to a large project addressing responses to dementia in developing countries STRiDE. Shereen is the founder and lead of the MENARAH network.

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Director of Analytical Research Ltd, and Affiliate Research Fellow, Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Mohamed is trained in engineering (MEng – Cairo University), computer science (MSc – Cairo University) and mathematical finance (MSc – CASS Business School, University of London). Mohamed started his career in in the City of London in 1990s, working as a quantitative analyst for leading global financial organisations, such as Merrill Lynch, HSBC, Mizuho and Credit Suisse, before he began to shift his focus onto quantitative social research. Since 2009, he has worked as an independent researcher in the field of social sciences with a particular drive to make use of different statistical and mathematical modelling techniques for the analysis of large and multi-dispersed data sets.

He has worked with universities in the UK, Europe, Australia and the Middle East; publishing a number of peer-reviewed articles. He has also been invited to give talks and presentations at several leading universities and organisations. His current research interests focus on exploring the potential role of mathematical dynamical systems in the field of population ageing across health and social care. Mohamed is the Director of Analytical Research ltd and an affiliate at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, University of Oxford.